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Full text of "History And Human Relation"

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Elsewhere he tells us:

The circumstances which have most influence on the
happiness of mankind, the changes of manners and morals
the transition of communities from poverty to wealth, from
knowledge to ignorance, from ferocity to humanity—these
are, for the most part, noiseless revolutions. Their progress
is rarely indicated by what historians are pleased to call
important events. They are not achieved by armies, or
enacted by senates. They are sanctioned by no treaties,
and recorded in no archives. They are carried on in
every school, in ever}'' church, behind ten thousand counters,
at ten thousand firesides. The upper current of society
presents no certain criterion by which we "can judge of the
direction in which the undercurrent flows. We read of
defeats and victories. But we know that nations may be
miserable amidst victories, and prosperous amidst defeats.
We read of the fall of wise ministers, and of the rise of
profligate favourites. But we must remember how small
a proportion the good or evil effected by a single statesman
can bŁar to the good or evil of a great social system.

" The thing I want to see," says Carlyle, " is not
Redbook Lists, and Court Calendars, and Parliamentary
Registers, but the LIFE OF MAN in England; what men
did, thought, suffered, enjoyed/'

Mournful, in truth, is it to behold what the business
called " History " in these so enlightened and illuminated
times, still continues to be. Can you gather from it, read
till your eyes go out, any dimmed shadow of an answer to
that great question : How men lived and had their being;
were it but economically, as, what wages they got, and what
they bought with these ? . . . How my Prime Minister
was appointed is of less moment to me than How my House
Servant was hired. In these days, ten ordinary Histories